Thanks for a home at Purple Cliffs

To the editor,

To our fellow citizens of Durango & La Plata County, thanks, firstly, to commissioners Clyde Church and Gwen Lachelt who voted to allow our continued use of the county property where we reside. Secondly, thanks to all the people at NINA, CCO, the Vineyard Church and all other supporters who made it possible for us to have a safe and stable location to shelter in place for the opportunity to stabilize our lives. We have been working together as a community to create a safe and self-governed camp with rules and peer management. So far, our low barrier camp has established the following set of practices:

• No hoarding or littering;

• No fires out of season;

• No unattended minors;

• No stealing;

• No sneaking about in other people’s camps;

• No savage animals;

• No sexually pervasive behavior;

• Treat others with the same respect you expect for yourself; and,

• No violent behavior. 

As a community, we try to establish that none of our members go hungry or cold, nor be in want for any basic human needs. We are establishing a council of five individual campers to mediate problem campers and make executive decisions that represent the camp as a whole. We have so far established a community kitchen, a shower, two community tents and a bicycle kiosk. A second shower is planned. We performed fire mitigation, and we organized routine cleanups of the hillside. Currently, we have a once weekly drop-off of meat from Manna Soup Kitchen, a weekly food drop from the food bank, and a biweekly drop of food from St. Columba, with occasional donations from CJ’s Restaurant of individual meals. All of those donations feed our community members. 

It is our hope that with community support, we will continue to receive consent for us to use this Purple Cliffs camp. We are hoping that the County and City will soon identify and decide upon a suitable new location for a large enough new site – equal to or better than Purple Cliffs – for most of the unsheltered community, including people with disabilities. Our thanks and gratitude for your continued support and prayers.

– Your friends and neighbors in need at the Purple Cliffs